What Is Stem Cell Therapy And Why Is It The Future of Personalised Healthcare?

the future of personalised healthcare

Long gone are the days when Henry Ford told his customers they can have a car in any colour as long as it’s black; we’re now able to customise everything from what we drive and what we wear, to the products we buy and the media we consume.

But this growing trend of personalisation is not just fulfilling a desire to be unique and stand out from the crowd, it’s responding to a very human requirement for services and products that meet our complex individual needs.

And with recent advancements in medicine and healthcare, personalisation is about to get even more personal.

Evolving From The One Size Fits All approach

Over the last thirty years, the medical community has developed and practised standardised approaches and processes in diagnosing, treating, and preventing diseases in many different patients.

Unsurprisingly, this one size fits all approach has proven to be less than ideal for many; with each patient having different symptoms, family histories, contraindications, and conditions from the next.

A new era of personalised or ‘precision’ medicine is marking the end of generic treatment plans, and the start of targeted and tailored healthcare, where every patient is treated according to their individual circumstances and genetic profile.

As disease doesn’t develop and progress the same in all patients, we are realising that grouping and treating disease under labels like ‘prostate cancer’ can actually be quite harmful. This new medical model of personalisation holds promise for more accurate diagnosis and treatment, and also importantly an improvement in the prediction and prevention of recurrence or future disease.

Among the latest developments in personalised healthcare is stem cell treatments. Stem cells are the body’s blank cells from which every other cell in the body arises from. Instead of attacking the symptoms, cell-based therapies aim to repair the mechanisms underlying the disease initiation through a means of cell transplantation.

By transplanting stem cells into the body, they set in motion the body’s natural course of repair, developing into the exact type of cells it needs and being transported to the target area.

However, not all stem cells have the ability to give rise to any cell type in the body. For that, we need pluripotent cells (unspecialised cells), such as Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), which just so happen to be naturally found in high concentrations in our teeth.

All of this means we can now use stem cells to treat patients in a way that is completely individualised and measured to their own generic make up and specific manifestation of the disease.

The Future Of Healthcare Is In Your Mouth

‘Autologous’ stem cell treatment takes personalised healthcare one step further.

In autologous therapy, a patient’s own stem cells which have previously been stored are used to treat a disease or condition. The method has been in use for years in cancer treatment where it’s necessary to repopulate the body with blood-producing cells following chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

Due to its host of benefits, and the discovery of easily extractable MSCs which can develop into any cell type in the body, autologous treatment using stem cells is now being opened up to new applications, many of which are already in the final phases of clinical trials.

Some of the benefits of using your own stem cells for treatment include:

  • Minimal risk of immune rejection like in allogeneic stem cell treatments (when stem cells from another person are used)
  • No need to find a stem cell donor
  • Minimal to no risk of needing anti-rejection drugs
  • Very low chance of your body rejecting organ transplants
  • Much lower risk of developing graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), a condition where newly transplanted donor stem cells attack the recipient’s body.
  • Having a store of your own MSC stem cells allows for the potential to treat a wide array of diseases

Ten years ago, autologous stem cell therapy was not a possibility due to limitations in extracting, storing, and of course using them in treatment.

Today, extracting and storing stem cells is less invasive and easier than ever before, and the treatments for using them are just around the corner. Thanks to the incredible properties of MSC stem cells found in teeth, your children’s baby teeth are now the most powerful tool in defending their long-term health.

Contact us today to find out how we can help you safeguard your children’s health by banking stem cells from their milk teeth.

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About the author: Joseph Pennington
Joseph is a resident medical writer for BioEden and a passionate advocate of personalised and regenerative medicine — particularly tooth stem cell banking. He believes stem cell therapy to be the biggest breakthrough in health care since the discovery of Penicillin.